Gaughan Gets Crashed, Finishes 21st At Daytona
After being as high as third spot in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season-opening Chevy Silverado HD 250 on Friday night, a late-race crash spoiled Brendan Gaughan and the No. 77 South Point Racing team’s hopes for a top finish. The Lap 88 crash relegated Gaughan to a 21st place finish.
“We had our Chevy right where we wanted it – near the front all night long in position,” Gaughan said. “We made it through the wreck but I don’t know what happened afterward. We ran up front and did what we wanted to do. We just got caught up in someone else’s mess.
“This was our first race for Chevrolet in a long time, and we are really happy. We’re going to win a lot of races this year.”
Gaughan and the No. 77 South Point Racing team started 27th in the first event of the 2007 season at Daytona. Despite starting deep in the field, Gaughan told his team that they had the truck to get up to the front and compete for the win.
After running fastest in final practice on Thursday, the entire South Point Racing team was looking forward to a solid run and a good finish.
It didn’t take long for trouble to strike on the race track. Being in the back of the pack, Gaughan would see or have to avoid many accidents during the course of the night, including the first caution.
At lap two, a spin happened in front of the No. 77 South Point Chevrolet. Gaughan reported to the crew that he had no dings and didn’t hit any debris as a result of driving through the accident.
Gaughan was racing in 23rd place on the restart at lap six.
Just three laps later at lap nine, Gaughan was nearly caught up in another accident. In fact, the No. 7 truck drove into the left rear quarter panel of the No. 77 Chevrolet.
Gaughan, now in 17th position, told crew chief Bryan Berry that he didn’t think the truck was hurt as he was barely hit but he asked for the team to spot check the truck following the contact. After examining the truck, the team decided there was no visible damage.
During the caution, NASCAR allowed teams to come down pit road for service without losing their spot on the track. The move by NASCAR allowed the South Point Racing team to refuel Gaughan’s truck. Gaughan returned to the race track in 17th place for the restart at Lap 16.
Gaughan picked up another spot and was racing in 16th place by the time the caution flag waved at lap 23. Again, the accident happened right in front of Gaughan and the No. 77 Chevrolet. Gaughan said he was able to avoid the five-truck accident because he saw one of the drivers waving his hand, signaling he had a problem. The accident gave the No. 77 pit crew their first chance to go to work in the 2007 season.
After telling the crew that the truck was getting a little tight, Berry made the call for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment at lap 26. The crew went to work and got the 77 truck back on the track in about 16 seconds.
“That was awesome guys for the first stop of the season,” Gaughan told his crew as he left pit road. “I have goose bumps – awesome job.”
Gaughan restarted the race in 17th place at lap 29.
The adjustments to the race truck appeared to help Gaughan has he was able to make his way through the field and put his truck almost anywhere on the track. Gaughan chose the outside line and moved up to eighth place by lap 35.
Being in the draft, Gaughan could be up one lap and down the next, but over the course of the next 10 laps the No. 77 truck shuffled positions in the top 10.
When the caution flag waved at lap 49, Gaughan was battling for eighth spot on the race track. Gaughan told his crew that he needed more front grip to make the truck a little racier on the track.
Berry called for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment in the front and for the crew to add tape to the truck’s front grill.
The adjustment on the pit stop made for a lengthy stop, and Gaughan returned to the track in 19th place for the restart at Lap 53.
The No. 77 truck again began moving through the field. By lap 60, Gaughan was sitting in 15th place when the caution flag was displayed. Again, Gaughan was forced to dodge a multi-truck incident.
“I’ve either had to drive thru or drive next to every wreck out there,” Gaughan told his crew. Gaughan told his crew that the truck got loose a couple of times when he was around people, but that would happen in the draft. His biggest concern was that his truck was now running a little hot.
So, when the team pitted at Lap 62, the South Point Racing team opted for gas only and pulled tape off of the front of the truck.
The team picked up spots on pit road, and Gaughan returned to the race track in fifth spot for the restart on lap 66.
“I’m going to stick on the bottom now that we have our position here,” Gaughan said.
Now in the top five, Gaughan moved up to the front of the field to third spot. Again, the nature of the draft on the race track meant the No. 77 truck would gain and lose spots each and every lap.
When Gaughan got stuck in the middle lane without any help, he fell to 12th spot on the board. At lap 80, another multi-truck accident behind Gaughan halted the action on the race track.
For the restart at lap 85, Gaughan was in 10th spot. However, Gaughan was stuck in the wrong lane of the draft and fell three spots by lap 87. Coming out of turn four, trucks began spinning in front of Gaughan.
Gaughan made it through the wreck and crossed the start-finish line when the No. 77 truck got clipped from behind sending the South Point Racing Chevrolet into the wall. The wreck ended Gaughan’s first run of the 2007 season.
“We made it through the wreck, but I don’t know what happened afterward,” Gaughan said. “I was through and I was already talking to my spotter saying, ‘Hey, nice job Batman, we made it through’, then pow, somebody just came down and got us from behind.
“We had a Silverado that run up front all night. We went to the front, went to the back. I played around a little there in the middle of the race. I went to the top and I tried the bottom, too. We had a Chevy that could win this race tonight. We’ll just pack up, head to California and go out and get them there. We’re going to win races this year.”
Gaughan and the No. 77 South Point Racing Chevrolet finished in 21st place. The team will return to action for the second race of the 2007 season next Friday night, Feb. 23 at California Speedway at 6 p.m. PT.